Nordic research software engineers

A research software engineer is someone involved in research, but more focused on the computational skills than publications. Nordic-RSE is the network of these people in the Nordics and Baltics. We currently focus on building a network of RSEs and highlighting their importance in the academic system. For RSEs or people who might want to be one, we offer opportunities for professional development and career advancement.

We are modeled on similar international networks in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, United States, and other countries.

Want to know more?

What is a research software engineer?

A growing number of people in academia combine expertise in programming with an intricate understanding of research. Although this combination of skills is extremely valuable, RSEs often lack a formal place in the academic system: they may produce fewer first-author papers than a researcher, and they may contribute to many papers and not appear as a author beyond a minor acknowledgement, if that! Their code is less formal than a software developers’, and career recognition is correspondingly low. The term “Research Software Engineer” is an attempt to recognize and promote these people, and the advantages to being a RSE are similar to being a researcher. RSEs will almost always closely work with researchers.

There are two typical types of RSEs:

  • Researchers who tend more towards the tech side, and not primarily interested in jobs which depend on numbers of publications. Typically titled “postdoc”, “graduate student”, “staff scientist”, or some such.
  • Tech staff/software developers who like the challenge and freedom of the research environment. Typically titled “application specialist”, “IT support”, “laboratory manager”, “programmer”, “senior engineer”, or some such.

You can read more about RSEs demographics in the Nordics in our 2018 survey.

What do we do?

  • Provide a community and professional development network for RSEs
  • Organize Nordic-RSE conference every two years
  • Periodic community chats
  • Assistance in starting RSE groups

We are still just beginning - if you have ideas for activities we should organize, get in touch.

Are you a research software engineer?

Most research software engineers don’t have that as their job title. If you answer yes to many of the following questions, you are doing the work of a research software engineer:

  • Are you employed to develop software for research?
  • Are you spending more time developing software than conducting research?
  • Are you employed as a postdoctoral researcher, even though you predominantly work on software development?
  • Are you the person who does computers in your research group?
  • Are you sometimes not named on research papers despite playing a fundamental part in developing the software used to create them?
  • Do you lack the metrics needed to progress your academic career, like papers and conference presentations, despite having made a significant contribution through software?
  • Are you unsure what your next career step should be?

Content of this page is derived from text originally provided courtesy of the UK Research Software Engineer Association.